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Bookshelf coffin

coffin furniture
Posted at 2:55 PM, Jul 11, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-11 14:55:00-04

WATERVILLE, Maine (CNN/WMTW) -- How would you feel about buying your coffin years before you die and then putting it on display in your home?

A man in Waterville, Maine is making that happen.

"He made it to fit, one size doesn't fit all," said Virginia Landry who never shies away from showing off the custom-made coffin in one day she will be laid to rest. Though for now, with its rows of removable shelves, it's the perfect storage spot for her collection of hand-sewn quilts.

"Any problem knowing what this will ultimately be? You know I'm in my 80s, by the time you're in your 80s, if you're not accepting the fact that you're not going to be around forever, what's wrong with you," Landry said.

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Chuck Lakin is one that believes there is nothing wrong with confronting and preparing for death.

"It's not a tragedy, everybody dies," Lakin said.

In fact an advocate, Lakin runs a website and lectures courses on affordable funeral alternatives. But, his specialty is designing coffins and building them in his own shop.

"I'm a woodworker, and I talk to people about home funerals, so of course I'm going to try to make a coffin," Lakin said.

Over the past five years, Lakin has developed a line of coffins which before that fateful day serve as fully functioning piece of furniture, beds, bookcases, and a chest of drawers. Elegantly crafted, simple to convert.

"Basically, like on the bookcase coffin, you take the shelves out, you take the screws that are holding the shelves up out, and if you haven't put the handle on yet, you put the handles on and you're ready to go," Lakin said.

Lakin said if more people had the attitude Landry does, Americans could save millions of dollars on funeral costs.